Favorite Things

Inspired by a friend, here’s my list of favorites:

  • Brock and Bodie Thoene, specifically the “AD Chronicles” and the “Zion” series.
  • My NLT Bible given me by my aunt 10 years ago. It’s getting filled with personal notes and thoughts. The back cover now sports two Disney princess stickers, one from each of my first graders, to help remind me to pray for them.
  • Thousand Foot Krutch. And on the other end of the spectrum, Casting Crowns. The music on my iPod is what keeps me sane during long flights. 
  • My mommy’s brownies. WOW. good.
  • Seeing a kid’s eyes light up with the “I got it!” look.
  • Writing anything from a journal entry to a Bible lesson to a book. I like putting my thoughts on paper, even if no one will ever read it.
  • My piano. 
  • Confession: I love coloring. Is that weird? I hope it’s not weird. I found these cool, way-intricate coloring books at a yard sale, all about life in Ancient Egypt and life in Rome. Brian bought me my own colored pencils and in the last three weeks, I have colored one quarter of one picture, that’s how much time I actually have to do this! But, it’s there, sitting on my end table, waiting for me, and somehow, that’s comforting.
  • “Life is Beautiful”  – in Italian with subtitles. Never, ever watch it dubbed. It loses its essence dubbed!
  • Facebook. Since moving overseas, it’s become my lifeline in connecting with friends and family back in the States (and beyond). Without it, I know I wouldn’t hear from most everybody. Sad, but true. Kind of the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality I think. 
  • “MacBeth.” Yup, far more morbid than say “Hamlet” and yet, one of my favorite plays of all time. Right up there with “Cyrano de Bergerac.” Two of my favorite things. 🙂
  • 8:30pm. I am in my pj’s, in my bed, watching TV and playing and laughing with my husband and daughter (who are also in their pj’s). It’s my absolute, hands-down, favorite part of every single day. 
  • My laptop with the light-up keyboard. Something about that just makes me so happy.
  • Nursing my baby. 
  • Watching marathons of “The Office” or “Parks and Recreation” on rainy Sunday afternoons with my husband. “I would like to have been married by the time I would’ve been 30.”
  • Getting packages in the mail. It means someone thought of us and took the time to mail us something. It happens quite rarely (we can get everything we need here, and most of our wants), so when it does it’s just…pure bliss.
  • Cranberry Juice. Even better? My new crave: Cranberry/Passionfruit juice! A-ma-zing.
  • Chocolate. ‘Nuff said.
  • Going to Chili’s on Saturday afternoon with Brian and ordering the special (the equivalent of $5) that reminds us of home: chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, garlic bread, and…. da da dum!…. sweet corn on the cob! 
  • Cooking/Baking/making the house smell yummy
This list is much, much longer than I expected. It may have to be continued. What are YOUR favorite things?
  • and, of course, my favorite thing of all. =)

Belated Aniverfather’s Day

Saturday was our 6th Anniversary.
I am so thankful I married this man. He is by far the most wonderful person I have in my life. I wouldn’t trade a moment, good or bad, that I’ve had with him.

Last year was rough on me. The pregnancy was not always easy and then the delivery was a nightmare. But, through the whole 9 months, Brian was so incredibly faithful. He took care of me in the jungle when we were nervous that I was just plain sick, not pregnant. When we got home from the jungle and I had the worst case of “morning” sickness EVER, he did the dishes (because the soap made me nauseous); he took out the trash (because the trash made me nauseous); he cleaned the bathrooms (because the cleaner and bending over to clean the shower made me nauseous); he swept the house (because moving around made me dizzy); he made the meals (because standing made me dizzy and cooking made me nauseous); he gave up his side of the bed (so I could see the TV when I was awake at 2am, nauseous); he went grocery shopping alone (because the heat and the smells in the store plus the drive there made me nauseous)…. get the picture? 

Then, after all that was over, I had that stupid dog jump on me which made me SO SORE I could barely move. I’ll never, ever forget when that happened — I screamed for Brian to come rescue me from this stupid dog and by the time we got inside, I was shaking so hard, I couldn’t stand. The look on Brian’s face made me realize how very, very much he cared about me and our unborn child. He was absolutely terrified that something serious had happened to me or the baby. He was so gentle as he looked me over for anything serious. And then he was so serious when he made me stay in bed and do basically nothing because he was worried I would get worse.

THEN, after ALL THAT, I got those horrible shingles! The night they started appearing, I could barely move because the pain in my back was debilitating. I collapsed on the floor and just sobbed. Brian had no idea what was wrong, but he was right there with me trying to figure it out. He made all the meals for us, checked on me constantly during his work day, put the music he knows I love on my iPod so I could have something different to do, and he never cringed when I looked absolutely disgusting with those nasty blisters.

I have never needed anyone the way I needed my husband last year. My c-section was miserable and I was laid up for quite awhile afterwards. I don’t know why it was so bad, but I just felt like I’d never get better. I was in almost constant pain from August to January – to the point where some nights I would just lie in bed and sob because I hurt so bad and there was nothing I could do about it. And Brian? He would hold me and help me and comfort me and never once did he complain.

I think that’s what strikes me the most. He never complained. He hates doing dishes and cleaning the house and cooking. I mean, he like DETESTS doing dishes. It’s not a simple, “Eh, I don’t like dishes.” It’s this passion of hating dishes. And for months on end, he did them for me. No complaints. He never complained last year. He never told me to get over it. He never asked me to do more than he thought I was able to. He showed me what love truly is. And it’s so much bigger than all that high school junk we all dealt with. I mean, really, how many of your high school boyfriends would do all that and then still love you and stay with you for years to come?

So, THAT is my husband. Saturday we celebrated our 6 years together by doing….absolutely nothing of importance. And it was wonderful. We went to our local mall, which is HUGE in comparison to what we both grew up with, and just hung out for the day. And it was bliss. I made us our annual cheesecake on Sunday, which was also bliss. 🙂

Sunday was Brian’s first Father’s Day. It was nice – we spent it with our pastor and his family and some other missionaries, not with our organization. It was nice talking with Americans and hearing stories of Peru from 30 years ago (our pastor has been here a long time) and, honestly, getting to know people we don’t work with every day! 🙂 It felt nice to branch out and make new friends.

This was yet another Father’s Day far away from my own dad. I love my dad and thankfully, he’ll be here in January to take a break from PA’s cold winter, see his granddaughter, and spend time with us. Just a few more months…

My dad with my baby, Christmas Eve ’10


My life is all about school, baby, and husband. I know some people I work with don’t particularly get how I don’t have “another real ministry”. I’m coming to grips with the fact that some people will never consider what I do a ministry. I’m also working really hard on making sure that even if others don’t consider it a ministry that I always DO think of it as a ministry. I’m in the school more or less from 9-5 with just a little bit of time at home. Today is Wednesday so I have a little more time at home in the morning since I don’t teach preschool today. I came home earlier than planned because the baby decided to have a huge fit. Now she’s zonked out next to me so I’m taking advantage of it. I should be cleaning. But, I can do that later. I’d rather blog. So I am. 🙂

Back in like May, I took the kids on their first field trip of the year. We went to the ocean, about 20min away, to look for science stuff.

It was a blast! The kids loved the morning. I had made up a scavenger hunt list for them. They divided into teams to look for the stuff, which included “signs of life” and “things you can only see at the beach.” A couple ladies from Europe went riding by on horses and pointed out an entire pod of dolphins swimming by just past the breakers. That definitely made the trip worth it. Afterwards, the kids had a sand castle competition, played follow the leader, and then we went to the market to get ice cream. Our next trip will, hopefully, be to the local Papa John’s to see how they make pizza.

Our church in PA and a few other supporters sent some gifts to help us purchase desks, tables, and chairs for my school. What the kids had been using was awful. I mean, we made it work and it could’ve been worse, but they were by no means in good condition. My 9th grader had a desk that was covered in dog stickers that were peeling off. It was one of those old metal desks that squeak and squeal and clang every time you open a drawer. And for some reason, it looked perpetually dirty. I think it was all the rust. My 4th grader had a blue desk that was originally bought by the parents 2 years ago. However, it was really narrow and had a bar right down the middle so she had to pick a side to sit on. Just, awkward. My 11th grader had a desk that could have been good, but he put his feet on it and messed around with it and it broke. My two 1st graders had their choice: either 2 wobbly desks with horrible ridges and broken areas with 3 iddy biddy chairs whose nails that were sticking out caught on their hair, OR a long table that was a hand-me-down from the Bible school (one that wasn’t good enough to use there, so it was given to us) that had just as many ridges, was written all over, way too high for them, and broken in areas, along with a long, heavy, uncomfortable bench to sit on. And that was it! No other options.

Thanks to donations, I was able to purchase:

Nice desks for the big kids – 3 of the 4 drawers lock so they can leave stuff in the classroom.


Two of these tables and a total of 4 of these chairs for my little girls.

SO MUCH BETTER! The kids were thrilled. The little ones have class in the afternoons but couldn’t wait to see the tables, so they came down hours early to check them out. They all wrote thank you notes yesterday and the reason the girls gave for liking their new chairs is because, “They’re comfortable, I can lean back, and I can put my arms on the sides.” And the reason they both gave for liking their new tables was, “They don’t move!” Wobbly desks are now a thing of the past!

Today, the girls had a special treat. There are two girls visiting from the States and one of them knows a little bit of ballet. They have been DREAMING about ballet for over a year, so we asked the visitor to teach them just a little. They had a whole hour this morning and will have another hour Friday morning. They were in H.E.A.V.E.N.!

I’m trying so hard to make school enjoyable and to give the kids opportunities they would have in a “normal” school. It may not be exactly the same and they probably won’t get quite as indepth “extra” studies, but at least they’ll get a sampling of stuff.

So far, a pretty good start to the year and we’re only in our 3rd month of school!

10 Years!

This week marks my official 10 years out of high school. Now, before I get the comments of, “Oh, you’re so young…” blahblahblah, I’m not saying I’m old. I’m merely saying – I can’t believe how FAST those 10 years went by! I am by no means lamenting the fact that it’s been 10 years; I’m just stating it.

I really do feel like these 10 years have flown by. Each year has held something totally different and unexpected. God has done some amazing things in my life. I wish so badly to be able to go back and redo my valedictorian speech. I was so convinced that the plans I had in June 2001 were the plans that would be – hands down, no option of change. Within two months, everything changed, and thus, all the big plans I’d made for myself went out the window. Ever since, nothing I have ever planned has turned out exactly how I planned it. Journey with me back in time and see what I mean…

  • I planned to go to New Brunswick Bible Institute. I went to Parole de Vie Bethel, in Sherbrooke, Quebec, and studied French and Bible.
  • I planned to go to Philadelphia Biblical University (known them as Philadelphia Bible College). I went to New Tribes Bible Institute in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
  • I planned on living in Peru for a summer between years of college. I worked at Grace to You Canada (John MacArthur’s foundation) for one summer and the other summer, I was too sick to work.
  • I planned on being single until I was at least 25, living on my own, working a full-time job, and owning a basset hound. I got married at 21 and have never lived on my own. I did, however, work plenty of full-time jobs. I would still like the basset hound.
  • I planned on living near my family and having kids soon after getting married. I moved 24hrs from my family and didn’t have kids for 5 years.
  • I planned on going on the mission field… in country. I went on the mission field… overseas.
  • I planned on having a super easy childbirth and being anxious to do it again. I had an emergency c-section, a horrible awful no-good very bad experience, and am just now thinking that I might, possibly, maybe, in another year or so be able to do it again IF a bunch of things can be different.
  • I planned on being a published author. Now, I am pretty sure that’s never going to happen. Anybody bored and want to read an amateur novel? I’d even let you pay me. 😉
Looking at that list, I’m not upset or disappointed, though. Pretty much nothing went as planned. Still nothing goes as planned!
Looking back at that list, though, makes me go, “Why would I want it to go as planned? How boring would that be?!”
Because nothing went as planned:
  • I learned to speak French — which enabled me to pick up Spanish without lessons.
  • I made some of the closest friends in Bible school — that I still have.
  • I met my amazing husband who fulfilled all my wildest dreams.
  • I got to live in South Dakota — which, deep down, I’d always wanted to live “out west” in “cowboy country.”
  • I now live in South America — and speak Spanish! I always wanted to learn how to speak Spanish; now I speak 3 languages (although, admittedly, French is swiftly disappearing from my repetoire).
  • I have a beautiful baby girl — and because of what I went through, I can now coach my friends who have had c-sections (planned or not) into how to plan, cope and recoup from them (things I wish I’d had more of).
Maybe someday I’ll learn, for real, that God always has His best in mind for me. I am very happy with my abnormal life. I love my family. I love my job. I love where I live. There is very little that I truly, truly miss from back in the States (that is not family). I’m glad I went to the schools I did. I’m glad I moved out of Vermont in the fall of 2001 and never moved back. I’m also glad my sister lives there because otherwise, I’m pretty sure I’d have a tough time finding reasons to visit! I’m thankful for all the moves I’ve made in my life (at least one every year from ’01-’09) because they’ve always moved me on to something better and unexpected (and, seriously, I am one heck of a packer).
Without all these life experiences in the last 10 years, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have the relationship with God that I have now. Sometimes…hmm… I’d daresay most of the time… you need to get moved out of your comfort zone, go through stuff that sucks and hurts, and experience the brand new in order to grow your relationship with God.
So, cheers to the next 10 years! Who knows where those years will take my family and I? Maybe in the next 10 I’ll finally get published.
Then again, maybe not.
*I wish I could post a picture of myself and all 4 of my graduating companions, but those pics are old enough they aren’t digital, so I don’t have any in South America with me. Just picture me… a lot younger, with shorter – wayyy blonder– hair, and about 40lbs thinner. I was “valedictorian” of a whopping 5 people at a small Christian school that no longer exists in northeast Vermont. I am not 100% sure what the other 4 are doing, but here’s my closest guesses:
Jen, the only other girl, married a man from Peru (they met on our senior class trip to here in 2001) and has 2 little boys. They live in New Hampshire. Her husband is an EMT and volunteer fireman. She’s a stay-at-home mom, home schooling her oldest boy and her youngest sister. Her mother passed away unexpectedly this year so she is taking on the role of mom to her sister as well. I stay in touch with her, so I know what she’s doing! 🙂
Tim, one of my closest friends in high school, lives in South Carolina with his wife and little boy who was born in April of last year. He’s a graduate of Bob Jones University and, last I heard, works as a graphic designer for Home Depot. His wife is a math teacher.
Chad, as far as I know, never finished college. I know he works in New Hampshire, but I’m not sure doing what. I think it’s something to do with a newspaper or magazine. He was also very artistic and musical; not sure what he’s up to, to be honest.
Chris is the only one that really fell away from everything we were raised to know and believe. His parents got divorced shortly after high school and I think that really influenced his life choices. He inherited quite a bit of money from a relative that passed away and so he purchased a house and a bunch of cars and rented some property out and I’m not sure what all. He’s had a few live-in girlfriends, but hasn’t gotten married. He worked for a long time laying carpet, but I think he’s a cook now (which doesn’t surprise me). He always wanted to make it with his band, but they never got farther than playing at a few local shows and getting on the radio (as far as I know). He admits he drinks too much and if Facebook tells the truth, I’m pretty sure he still thinks life is a party.
*I went to Kindergarten with everyone but Chad. Chad, Chris, and Tim were all home schooled for a few years at one point, but then came back to the Christian school and we did all of high school together. Jen and I didn’t always get along, but sometime in high school, the 5 of us came together as a group and by the time we graduated, we did everything together. I came the closest to dating Chris. We even talked about it, but decided not to. Tim and I were best friends until sometime in college when he met his wife and I met Brian. We’ve sort of kept in touch, but since getting into serious relationships, it hasn’t been the same (as well it shouldn’t be). Jen and I actually lived for a time here in Peru together last year, but they ended up deciding to return to the States.
Now that I’ve given you a bunch of info you probably weren’t sure you wanted to know… I need to go get ready for my day before my computer dies. Have a lovely Thursday!

June 2011
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